from the weeding-out-the-jokes dept
They say that really well done parody is close enough to the truth to be funny. That's certainly correct, but it can occasionally create some problems, as we've seen in the past. Parody can anger the target of the scorn, it can lead to charges of defamation, and parody news stories can occasionally infect even the, ahem, most fair and balanced cable news stations. I guess the point is that not everyone has enough of a sense of humor to find some parody funny, or even to realize that it is indeed parody.
The latter is the case with this story about Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop, who had diligently prepared before testifying before a state panel on the potential for legalizing marijuana.
In researching his testimony against two bills before the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Pristoop said, he had found a news article to illustrate the risks of legalization: 37 people in Colorado, he said, had died of marijuana oversdoses on the very day that the state legalized pot.Proving, of course, that stupid can in fact cause physical harm and property destruction. See, the problem is that Pristoop's source for his marijuana massacre was The Daily Currant, which is a comedic parody magazine. The article and its claims were a joke. So, it appears, were Pristoop's efforts at vetting the sources he found on the always treacherous interwebz. Similar grades should be assigned to Pristoop's abilities at admitting error.
“When he said it, everyone in the room dropped their laptops,” Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) said in an e-mail.
“I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths. I believed the information I obtained was accurate, but I now know the story is nothing more than an urban legend,” Pristoop said. “This does not take away from the other facts presented in opposition to legalization or the good work of the Maryland Chiefs and Maryland Sheriffs Associations.”An urban legend is a fictional story circulated through a community that might be a tad unsure of whether it is indeed fiction. Ghost stories, in other words, or the threat of high school seniors hazing incoming freshman. Those are urban legends. The Daily Currant's article was a joke made up whole cloth for the purposes of making people laugh. Anyone with a modicum of interest and education into the health risks associated with marijuana use would know that immediate death simply isn't one of them.
Fortunately, others in the police departments of Maryland have a better handle on this whole humor thing, as evidenced by Maj. Scott Baker.
“His numbers are up in smoke,” Baker acknowledged Wednesday — a sly tip of the hat to Cheech & Chong’s 1978 stoner movie.Funny, I was going to make a comment about how Pristoop's facts were half-baked...